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Should Virginity Repairs Surgery Be Banned? Campaigners Decries Rise In Women Seeking Perfect Vagina

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Campaigners are urging the government to outlaw “virginity repair” surgery.

Many Muslim women risk being outcast, or in extreme cases killed, if their spouses or families discover they have had sex before marriage.

And some are opting for a medical procedure in which doctors restore a layer of membrane at the entrance to the vagina.

But there are concerns a ban would increase the dangers to Muslim women by driving the procedure underground.

Guidelines from the General Medical Council (GMC) state a patient’s consent to undergo a procedure should come into question if it is suspected of being “given under pressure or duress exerted by another person”.

Halaleh Taheri, founder of Middle Eastern Women and Society Organisation told BBC News of a Moroccan student in hiding in London after being told her father had hired someone to murder her.

After coming to the UK in 2014 to study, the woman, now 26, had met a man and they had moved in together.

But when her father had found out about their relationship, he had demanded she return to Morocco, where he had taken her to a clinic for a “virginity test” and discovered her hymen was no longer intact.

She fled back to London but now lives in constant fear her father will find out where she lived.

A Moroccan-born assistant teacher, 40, also told the BBC that after being forced to go through with the procedure in her 20s, she could not imagine pressuring her children into doing the same.

“I would never, ever do such a thing to them. I try to teach them to be free.”

There are currently at least 22 private clinics across the UK offering hymen-repair surgery.

They charge up to £3,000 for the surgery, which takes about an hour.

Women’s rights campaigners say that such clinics are profiting from Muslims afraid of what could happen to them if they are not “pure” for their wedding night.

And many detail the procedure on their websites, with London’s Gynae Centre telling women who visit its site “some marriages are even annulled” when a husband discovers his wife’s hymen has been broken.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he would be investigating ways to end this “dreadful practice,” but the Department of Health declined to comment on how a potential ban would be enforced.

But Miss Taheri said: “Girls could end up dying if banning this procedure isn’t done with proper care.”

Dr Khalid Khan, professor of Women’s Health at Barts and the London School of Medicine, who has witnessed the procedure first hand, said a ban “isn’t an appropriate response”.

And as long as “good quality information” was made available to patients, the decision should be left up to individual women.

“I believe doctors’ motives are genuinely for protection against abuse,” he added. (More@ BBC)

 

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